When You Don’t Want Disappointment for Breakfast

perfect holiday breakfast

This post was sponsored by General Mills through their partnership with

POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Pillsbury™ Grands! Cinnamon Rolls, all opinions are my own.

Cinnamon rolls are one of my very favorite foods on earth.

The number one reason I like going to Las Vegas is to see my parents. The number

two reason is to get a cinnamon roll at a little café inside the Bellagio. I am serious

about my cinnamon rolls.

perfect holiday breakfast

And yet, somehow, making a good cinnamon roll at home completely eludes me. I

have tried dozens of recipes over the years – every time a blogger promises “the

best cinnamon rolls ever” or “the only cinnamon roll recipe you’ll ever need!” I try


And almost every time, I end up throwing half the pan away because . . . they’re just

not that good. It’s not like they FAIL, it’s just that they aren’t particularly great.

It’s always frustrating to have a recipe not to turn out amazingly, but it is especially

annoying to me when it’s a recipe like cinnamon rolls where it takes about three

hours to make them. I might as well just drive to Vegas and get one at the Bellagio.

After yet another lackluster recipe last month, I finally decided to give myself a

break from cinnamon roll baking.

But with the holidays coming up and family coming for both Thanksgiving and

Christmas (Bart’s for Thanksgiving and mine for Christmas), I was loathe to skip

cinnamon rolls altogether since I like to make them on the morning after a big

holiday when you want something special to make it feel like the celebration is still

going strong.

perfect holiday breakfast

I love the Pillsbury™ Grands! Cinnamon Rolls because I’m not spending three hours

getting cinnamon rolls on the table, I’m spending all of thirty seconds of hands-on

time and then while they bake, I can make a smoothie to go along with them (or,

actually, Bart has foolishly proven himself very competent in the smoothie making

department recently, which means I mostly make him do it these days (I think his

secret is not putting anything green in there)).

perfect holiday breakfast

Going the Pillsbury™ Grands! Cinnamon Rolls route also means we can have

breakfast cleaned up in a heartbeat and get out with our houseguests to do

something fun, since the weather in Arizona is perfect – just cozy enough to make

you want a house full of the smells of baking, but warm enough that it’s fun to be


I don’t have to worry they won’t turn out perfectly (they do – every time) and it

takes me back to making Pillsbury™ Cinnamon Rolls on Sunday mornings in our tiny

closet-sized kitchen in our first apartment after we got married. The oven there was

so bad, we only used it once in four months , and relied solely on our tiny toaster

oven, which was plenty big enough for cooking four cinnamon rolls for the two of us.

Now if I could just find a similarly fool-proof way to get my house cleaned and ready

for company.

perfect holiday breakfast

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  1. I am curious to know what your opinion is on the overnight Cinnamon Rolls from Our Best Bites (if you have tried them.) You are right about Cinnamon Rolls.being a lot of work and sometimes it is nice to have a quick failproof way.

    1. I like them a lot but I haven't really tried many other recipes to compare them to. My favorite part about the recipe is that I can make them the night before and so I don't have to get up super early the next day to make them. I usually make them on Valentine's Day.

  2. I find it incredibly interesting that you will feed your girls sugary Hawaiian rolls & cinnamon rolls but not Captain Crunch?!? What's the difference? At least the cereal has some vitamins and whole grains. Yet all of it is junk food full of crap. I am not sure you can claim "great food" as a value when you are buying cheap processed business. Perhaps I am no longer the audience for this blog despite being a reader since before Ella.

    1. For me, the difference is that breakfast cereal is a daily food versus something like Hawaiian rolls or cinnamon rolls which I see as special occasion foods. I'm happy to buy a sugary cereal for birthdays (our traditional breakfast in bed meal) but I don't want my girls eating a sugary cereal seven days a week for breakfast, just as I wouldn't make cinnamon rolls – homemade or from a can – on a daily or even weekly basis. Same with Hawaiian Rolls; they are fun for a party or a special picnic, and something I've loved since childhood, but not something we eat frequently.

      Over the years, how we've eaten has changed depending on our tastes, budget, time, and family situation. In the past, I made homemade bread every week with wheat flour I ground myself – now I'm not inclined to spend the time doing that, so I've found a store-bought bread I like, and I buy that instead. Sometimes we don't eat cold cereal at all and sometimes it's a a staple for us. I've made homemade tortillas and I just don't think they are as good as the ones you buy ready-to-cook at the store. Some things I buy organic and some items I go conventional for.

      As far as valuing great food goes, I feel like that doesn't mean I can't enjoy any processed foods. I think I'll love Pop-Tarts until the day I die (although not for breakfast because I know they are basically a cookie) and we are a family of serious Pringle lovers. But I also make dinner from scratch pretty much every night of the week, and I make muffins and granola and cookies at home. We like trying local restaurants and ethnic foods, but sometimes it's hard to beat Chick-fil-A. I try to keep our eating 80-90% healthy and homemade, but I'm okay with buying some processed foods that make my life easier or are fun splurges from time to time.

      I really appreciate your comment because it helped me to think through some of my current thoughts about food for our family, and I definitely am grateful that you've been reading my blog for so long, but I completely understand if it's not useful or interesting to you anymore – it's absolutely changed over the years as our family circumstances and lifestyle has shifted and then shifted again, and likely will continue to do so.

      Also, I actually just don't care for Captain Crunch – if I'm going to get a sugary cereal it's almost always going to be Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

  3. We always had Pillsbury cinnamon rolls every holiday morning growing up. Their a tradition that my mom started and that we do now. I used to make them from scratch every holiday but we got rid of our Kitchen Aid when we moved from NC (I hated having to clean it and now we just do everything by hand, or with our small electric mixer), but we're back to Pillsbury for the holidays and they're always delicious!

  4. I agree that cinnamon rolls take entirely too long to make. I've found a recipe for 1 hour (start to finish) cinnamon rolls from Averie Cooks (http://www.averiecooks.com/2013/12/one-hour-homemade-cinnamon-rolls-with-cream-cheese-frosting.html). They're delicious because they still have that yeasty goodness, but you don't have to let them raise. I also throw some chocolate chips in there, because that's the way my great grandma taught me cinnamon rolls were supposed to be.

    1. Oh, I'll have to try that one – I'm super tempted by the one-hour promise, plus I've had good success with Averie Cooks over the years. Thanks for the heads up!

  5. 27 years ago we sold our starter home on our own. I baked cinnamon rolls every Saturday and Sunday to fill the house with a good smell for the open house. I can hardly eat them to this day because of smelling that smell for seven weeks — we did end up selling it on our own though!

  6. Have a look at The Pioneer Woman recipe for cinnamon rolls. I've never had a fail yet and they're quick to whip together the night before then pull out to roll up in the morning

  7. Cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite foods, too, but I'm pretty much the opposite of you: I love them all! I don't think I've ever had a bad one, except for the time my mom was experimenting with whole-grain baking and made these dense, tough, impossible-to-chew cinnamon rolls for breakfast that just about made us all cry! I'm just as happy with a Pillsbury one as with a homemade one that I spent all Saturday baking.

    Our Best Bites has a good one-hour recipe (I usually substitute orange juice for vanilla in the frosting because I used to be addicted to those Pillsbury orange rolls) : http://ourbestbites.com/2010/06/everyday-cinnamon-rolls/

    I also love this recipe from Prudence Pennywise: http://prudencepennywise.blogspot.com/2008/12/christmas-in-sweden-and-moms-best.html

    And, if you want to go really crazy, Joy the Baker added chocolate and pistachios to The Pioneer Woman's recipe and it is AWESOME: http://joythebaker.com/2013/12/bonkers-awesome-pistachio-orange-and-dark-chocolate-cinnamon-rolls/

    (Not that you asked. And as a fellow connoisseur you've probably already seen them all. But just in case…) 🙂

  8. I support this 100%. I know that means so much to you! But seriously, I'm a cinnamon roll snob and rarely have one that is REALLY good. I'm just super picky … it needs to be soft, gooey, lots of frosting/icing, and I only like them warm. Anyway, I love these because when I really want a cinnamon roll, I can make a can of these, get my fix, and move on with my life. Plus I'm becoming more and more lazy in my old age of 31 and want meals that are quick and easy. Now if only we could get Pillsbury to double the amount of icing they put in the packages ….

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